Old Man in Sorrow (On the Threshold of Eternity)
Oil on Canvas April-May, 1890
Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo – The Netherlands
I felt the anguish of this picture today. This morning I heard both my mother and father crying over the selfish self-destruction of their child. Speaking of lack of appreciation and ignorance, I never really “got” Vincent Van Gogh until today when I saw this while browsing Barnes & Noble with Kyle.
I know it’s not titled a self-portrait like so many others, but it is one. This image perfectly captured Van Gogh’s state of mind for much of his ten year career. Though a young man, he felt old, suffered greatly and longed for the exit.
On July 27, 1890, Vincent and his demons walked out into a desolate field. Wanting to silence them after many years of torment, he put a gun to his chest and pulled the trigger, but even suicide would not be easy. He missed his heart and died from infection two days later. He was 37 years old. His brother cried for him then.
The path of self destruction breeds heartache, helplessness and despair. And this is shadowed by the fear of a coming of an end. The cause of the path’s blind journey is usually resilient to love and care, support and money. So you wait, watch and pray that the journey will change its direction before the path finds its final sad end. -M.